Judging in Blois

Judging in Blois

May 17, 2020 0 By jane

Hard to believe that a little over two months ago we were in Blois to judge the 2020 Concours Mondial du Sauvignon competition.
A feature of Concours judging is that afternoons are given over to visiting the host region and we were looking forward to escaping the judging hall and exploring the local vineyards. The Loire Valley is the birthplace of sauvignon blanc (the earliest reference is in François Rabelais’ 1534 work Gargantua where it is called fiers) and Touraine – Loire Valley Wines, a major sponsor of the 2020 competition, had arranged for judges to visit Chenonceaux and Amboise. We saw and learnt a fair bit in such a short time (not only does Touraine have around 5000 hectares of vines and is home to 650 wine producers but Mick Jagger has a home there).  

The competition entries came from Austria, Bulgaria, Chile, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, the US and New Zealand. Our fellow judges comprised a diverse range of nationalities and discussions around the judging table were an opportunity to learn. I especially enjoyed one of my fellow panellists who announced that “ . . . this wine is from a place that doesn’t have terroir. Like New Zealand”. He looked quite taken aback when I pointed out that in New Zealand we grew our vines in the soil, just like everyone else.